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Weaving through the town

Author: Josh Katz's JTE
level: Junior High
target_English: "Where do you live?", "Where are you going?" etc. + giving directions

: I'm just going to tell you how my teacher did the game. Because he made it up, not me. And let me first say, the kids had the best reaction to this game that I've ever seen. It was the funniest thing some of them have seen in class, I bet, as many of them were red-faced, coughing, and choking on their laughter. So use caution!

This class has about 30 kids, and that's fine. Make it so the desks don't touch (so that you can walk between each of them). Make about 8-10 picture cards that have place names on them (river, forest, supermarket, whatever). Pass them out to kids in various places. You have just made a city. Each desk is a building, and each desk with a card is a special building.

The teacher had 4 kids (one group) come to the front at one time. This game was not competitive, but each kid in the group had to give one command. Command? Yes, you are now a robot who responds only to their English commands. First you say, "I live near the _____" (make sure it's far away from where you are). Then, they must give commands to guide you there.

The commands we used were:
Walk this way
Turn left
Turn right
Walk [#] block (s)--optional to teach
and "It's on your right/left" (the final statement)

Why was the game so fun? Well, some kids try various commands, like "walk on desk" which you can pretend to attempt, and fall down. One group also had me go up to a certain kid and say "kick," and I did kick his chair, albeit lightly. Some kids also decide to just mess with you. One kid kept saying "turn left, turn left, turn left, turn left..." and sometimes there's a battle within the group to control you. Also, sometimes they say stop when you're in mid-stride, or they say it prematurely, and so it's funny to them if you stop in a weird pose. If the kids have goofy personalities, it can get really funny. Especially if you walk in various robotic ways and stuff.

One of the things that might've been important about it is, the teacher made it and I was like a participant. I think if you come to the class and say "use my body," it may be a little weird or something. But maybe not. At any rate, you should definitely give this game a try if you have a good relationship with your kids.

Josh Katz's JTE

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